In many cities it’s not uncommon to see bike racks mounted on the front of public buses to help make traveling easier for cyclists. Langley Erickson, a senior studying city planning at Ohio State University, says that by putting a large custom-designed cooler in the same spot, buses can provide a storage area for shoppers on their way home from the grocery store. Additionally, he suggests that stores could contribute to the price of the coolers in order to save on grocery cart theft, which costs businesses tens of millions of dollars each year.
What’s the Big Idea?
Simply put, the goal is to link people living in so-called “food deserts” to supermarkets in other areas, many of which — in Columbus, OH at least, which is where Erickson applied his design — are accessible by bus. Compared to other suggested solutions, such as planting community gardens and bringing in mobile stores, using the existing public transportation system is a simpler and relatively cheaper alternative. It would also send an important message: that city governments care about the food needs of all its citizens, including those who don’t live in areas with high-quality food options.